Government Doled Out $100B Improperly Last Year
2013 number below 2010's $121B peak
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 9, 2014 11:13 AM CDT
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform member Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. talks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)

(Newser) – By its own estimate, the government made about $100 billion in payments last year to people who may not have been entitled to receive them—tax credits to families that didn't qualify, unemployment benefits to people who had jobs, and medical payments for treatments that might not have been necessary. Each year, federal agencies are required to estimate the amount of improper payments they issue; the House Oversight subcommittee on government operations is holding a hearing on improper payments this afternoon. Some improper payments are the result of fraud, while others are unintentional, caused by clerical errors; others were deemed improper because they were issued without proper documentation.

The Obama administration has reduced the amount of improper payments since they peaked in 2010 at $121 billion. Still, "the federal government's own astounding estimate is more than half a trillion dollars over the past five years," said Rep. John Mica, the Republican chair of the subcommittee. "The fact is, improper payments are staggeringly high in programs designed to help those most in need—children, seniors, and low-income families." Some 24% of payments made under the earned income tax credit program last year were deemed improper, as were 9% of payments under the unemployment insurance program. Click for more details on where the improper payments went.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 81 comments
iq145
Jul 11, 2014 8:05 PM CDT
More doling: Salary of RETIRED United States Presidents .... $180,000 FOR LIFE. Salary of a Senator .... $174,000 FOR LIFE. Salary of Congress Speaker of the House .... $223,500 FOR LIFE. Salary of Senate Majority Leaders .... $193,400 FOR LIFE. Average Salary of a teacher .... $40,065 until retirement. Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN .... $38,000 until end of tour. i think i've figured out where some budget cuts could be made!
Pragmatist5
Jul 10, 2014 2:19 PM CDT
Stop voting for more taxes . . . STOP. Take the money away from government. We don't need government to solve all problems.
Tology
Jul 10, 2014 11:10 AM CDT
You mean to tell me that the three to five thousand dollar tax refunds to people who paid in less than one thousand was a mistake? Do you know what this is going to do to the big screen television and video console business? Both of which by the way are necessities to kids with no coats or shoes or a decent meal on the table.